It’s the time of year to stock up on sweet treats and fill the yard and home with decorations as ghosts, goblins and caped crusaders plan their invasion of your neighborhood. As part of the “Teach Learn Care” TLC campaign, Safe Electricity urges everyone to make sure your costumed visitors are kept safe by following some basic electrical safety guidelines.
Safe Electricity suggests the following to avoid potential safety hazards:
- Use only lights that have been safety tested and approved by Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Look for the UL label on the box and on each string.
- Make sure extension cords are in good condition. Use only UL-approved cords rated to carry the electrical load you will connect to them.
- Before plugging in the lights, check each string for broken sockets, frayed cords, or faulty plugs. Replace damaged strings.
- Keep electric cords out of high-traffic areas.
- Don’t staple or nail through light strings or electrical cords.
- Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples to hold light strings in place, not nails or tacks.
- Do not attach cords or lights to metal objects.
- Outdoors, use only lights and cords rated for outdoor use.
- Cords should be plugged into outlets equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Use a portable GFCI if your outdoor outlets don’t have them. GFCIs protect you from electric shocks.
- Always unplug lights before going to bed or leaving your home.
- Do not run electrical cords across sidewalks or other walkway areas that could trip or endanger trick-or-treaters. Indoors, avoid stretching cords across a room where people or pets can trip over them or become entangled.
Whether decorating or using extension cords in general, read the label on both the cord and the appliances that are plugged into it to make sure the cord can handle the load. If it can’t, use a higher-rated cord or unplug some appliances. Remember that extension cords are meant for temporary, not permanent, use.
A safe celebration is the best celebration, and following basic electrical safety guidelines will help you avoid real scares and keep your memories “boo-tiful” and fun.